Are you graduating in Spring 2022? If so, now is the time to apply for Optional Practical Training!
Optional Practical Training (OPT) is an employment benefit for students with F-1 status to gain practical experience in their major field of study.
Timeline to Apply for OPT
Apply early! United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can take up to 3-5 months to process your OPT application. You can apply for OPT up to 90 days before your graduation date.
For students graduating in Spring 2022, this means the earliest you can apply is Monday, February 21, 2022.
The latest you can apply is at the end of the 60-day grace period following your graduation, which is Wednesday, July 20, 2022. That is the latest date USCIS can receive your application and still approve it.
How to Apply for OPT:
- Complete the OPT modules in myIO and review our OPT Website
- Charge and pay the OPT Administrative Fee
- Upload the following documents to the OPT Request in myIO:
- Graduation Letter
- Completed I-765 Form
- Passport Page
- I-94 Form
- Copy of your F-1 Visa (or most recent entry visa)
- Copy of all previous EAD Cards (if applicable)
- Obtain your OPT I-20 from ISSS and apply for OPT with USCIS.
No Appointment Needed!
You do not need an appointment with an international student advisor to apply for OPT. Simply follow the steps above. ISSS will provide you all the information you need at each stage of the process, up to and including how to mail your application to USCIS.
Questions? Attend Our “Ask An Advisor” OPT Q&A Session
If you have questions after reviewing the OPT modules in myIO, join one of our upcoming “Ask An Advisor” sessions. An international student advisor will answer your questions about OPT.
Best Practices to Apply for OPT
- Apply early!
- Do not submit anything to USCIS (either by mail or online) until you have received your OPT I-20 from ISSS.
- Remember: Once you receive your OPT I-20 from ISSS, USCIS must receive your OPT application within 30 days.
- You can choose to file your application with USCIS by express mail with secure tracking or by filing online with USCIS. You can read the advantages and disadvantages of filing online on our website under OPT Frequently Asked Questions.